I am currently sitting in my almost one-year old son’s room, curled up on his rocking chair, with his heater powering through the cold chill in the air. His breathing gently breaks into a weirdly adorable child-snore every six or seven breaths; he mumbles gibberish in his dreaming, while reaching out a sleeping hand to fumble for his dummy in the dark. The same piano gospel lullabies he’s listened to every night since birth are chiming gently through the spluttering of the warm vaporiser, while traffic rumbles around on one of the main roads in what seems like a million miles from the stillness here.
These were the upgrades I signed up for when I became a mum, or so I imagined.
I like surprises. When we got married I let my husband plan our whole honeymoon and delighted in being whisked away without a clue where we’d end up or what we’d do. I really enjoy the injection of the unexpected into everyday life.
Infertility was never a part of my plan.
I’ve always been slightly obsessed with babies. From an early age, you could have seen me wandering around my house and the neighborhood with a Bitty Baby, you know, the one from American Girl, strapped to my chest. My parents must have figured this was a sign that I needed siblings because they quickly had nine more children and until I left for college, my arms always had a baby to hold. When I got married at the ripe young age of twenty-one, I couldn’t wait to start a family of my own.
Recently my son Jackson and I were taking advantage of an unseasonally warm Sunday afternoon with one of his favourite activities; water play in the backyard. I watched, bemused, as he entertained himself with endless pouring from cup to bucket to water table, then back up into the cup to continue the cycle. The water mesmerizes him. He can play with water for hours, soaking himself from head to toe until he begins to shiver violently, and even then he screams in protest when I bundle him up in a soft towel and carry him inside to recover in a warm bath.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” -Galatians 6:9
My mom, a saint who is still in the process of raising ten children, quoted this verse to me at least once a month throughout my upbringing. Homeschooling brought some unique challenges, one of which was not being affirmed in how her parenting choices were correct. Until I was in college, it was hard to see where I stood with my peers and how her parenting philosophies held up to time.
Being vulnerable is gross. I always thought I was good at being open, and honest, and vulnerable to those I loved. And sometimes, even to those I didn’t love. I often would put my whole self on the line, without regard for my protection, so that people could trust me, be open with me and ultimately, love me for who I actually was. I got tired of surface level friendship and this was the best way I knew how to push past it. Sometimes vulnerability paid off in true friendship; sometimes I walked up to the edge of a cliff without a harness and people took turns pushing me off.